Did you know that there is a privately-owned wildlife sanctuary in India? Hard to believe, but it is true. Sai Sanctuary, as it is called, is the brainchild of Pamela Gale Malhotra and her husband, Anil Malhotra, who transformed their 300 acres of land, located in the Southern Ghats of India, into a lush forest.
The Sai Sanctuary, located in Kodagu district, was once an abandoned piece of land that grew rice, coffee, and cardamom. The land was purchased by the Malhotras and it is their sheer passion and 26 years of hard work that transformed it into lush green forests.
The couple established this sanctuary in 1991 and till date continue to maintain its flora and fauna with unmatched love and passion. This love for nature is for all to see. Today, Sai Sanctuary boasts of 200 globally endangered species of plants and animals that include the Bengal tigers and Asian elephants.
Their motivation for doing so was the depleting forest cover of the Kodagu district that had decreased from 86 percent in 1970 to 16 percent today. This, according to Pamela, had disastrous effects on rainfall patterns and water supply that affected the district and extended to the south of India.
What the couple has done is an inspiration for others. It is a prime example of how the environment can be enriched by preserving a vibrant ecosystem in which the forests provide shelter to the animals and the animals keep the forests healthy.
Pamela gushes, “We both feel a tremendous amount of joy when we walk through the sanctuary. I’ve never felt this kind of joy in anything else that I’ve done in my life.”